Cincinnati Bengals: Marvin Lewis Isn’t Going Anywhere

Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports /

Bengals’ head coach Marvin Lewis has controlled Cincinnati’s sidelines since 2003; that’s not changing anytime soon.

The Cincinnati Bengals are 2-4. Not a familiar feeling for a team that has made the playoffs five consecutive seasons, won double digits games four straight years and is the defending AFC North champion.

Sitting under .500 for the first time since 2012 , Cincinnati’s coaching staff has been scrutinized the hardest. First-year offensive coordinator Ken Zampese on the team’s efficiency in the red zone, Paul Guenther on the defense yielding 24.2 points per game (20th in the NFL), and, of course, head honcho Marvin Lewis.

Usually, Lewis’s critics don’t arrive until early January. That’s been the pattern in six of the last seven years when his Bengals went one-and-done in the postseason.

At two games under .500, it’s logical for fans to go irate. However, if history repeats itself — as it often does with the Cincinnati Bengals — Lewis is not going anywhere.

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The facts

  • Lewis has won 114 games, most in franchise history. 53 more victories than Sam Wyche, who sits in second place.
  • Lewis has made the playoffs seven times. The eight Bengals’ coaches before him combined for seven postseason trips in the previous 35 seasons.

    Under Lewis, the Bengals are 0-7 in the postseason.

    Only two coaches in team history have won a playoff game

    Cincinnati Bengals: Marvin Lewis Isn't Going Anywhere
    Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports /

    So if you’re on the bandwagon to #FireMarvin — which has been a popular cry for years — who is the favorable option at the moment? This coaching staff saw plenty of turnaround since the end of last season. Zampese was just promoted to offensive coordinator, a decision that hasn’t paid dividends yet. On the other side of the ball, Guenther is in his third season as Zimmer’s replacement at defensive coordinator. He’s still trying to turn this year’s defense into a unit that led the AFC in scoring a year ago.

    Once Jackson left for Cleveland this offseason — and ruled out the possibility of a succession plan to replace Lewis in two seasons — it took away the last real qualified coach that the Bengals’ owner could fathom taking the head position for future seasons.

    The Mike Brown Connection

    Also, given recent history, it’s not likely that Brown would hire from outside the organization. Since his father’s death in 1991, Brown has named four different head coaches, only Lewis came into the head spot from another franchise.

    • 1992: Dave Shula —  Bengals’ wide receiver’s coach in ’91
    • 1996: Bruce Coslet — Bengals’ offensive coordinator 1994-’95
    • 2000: Dick LeBeau — Bengals’ defensive coordinator 2000-’02
    • 2003: Marvin Lewis — Redskins’ defensive coordinator 2002

    I understand the frustrations fans have. But the immediate rants of “Fire (insert name here)” after every loss is simply exhausting.

    There are many opinions on Lewis — he can’t win in the playoffs, he’s not emotional enough, he doesn’t keep his guys under control, he’s too predictable and conservative — just to name a few.

    Next: No More Cornerbacks

    No matter your views, Lewis will finish out his current contract and will be on the field for the rest of 2016 and 2017 (the last year on his current deal).

    The Bengals look to break its second two-game losing streak of the season on Sunday. Jackson and the winless Browns head to PBS for a 1:00 pm kickoff.

    Lewis is 18-8 in his career against Cleveland.